The MAUC Executive Committee convened at union headquarters for a regularly scheduled meeting on April 20, 2023, for the purpose of receiving reports, voting ordination recommendations and approving the union’s budget for 2023. The 33 committee members in attendance represented all six conferences in the union.
The meeting, chaired by MAUC president Gary Thurber, focused on upcoming events, membership growth, financial considerations and reports from affiliated entities.
The tone for the day was set by Dean Coridan, president of the Iowa-Missouri Conference, who shared a devotional themed on “living in the land of impossibilities” and trusting completely in divinepower to fulfill God’s covenant and finish the work He has given us, versus relying on ourselves together with God’s miracle-working power. “Jesus is trying to change our equation,” Coridan said. “He is the only One who can fulfill the covenant. All things are possible with God because He is good. And he’s the only One who is good. Let the equation be changed in your life.”
Thurber’s presidential report highlighted upcoming events in our territory including the MAUC Hispanic Youth Congress in July, the ASI International Convention scheduled for the first weekend of August in Kansas City, the International Pathfinder Camporee to be hosted in Gillette, Wyoming, in 2024, and the General Conference Session slated for St. Louis in 2025.
Hubert J. Morel, Jr., vice president of administration for MAUC, shared that during the 4th quarter of 2022, there were 314 new members across the territory who joined by either baptism or profession of faith, bringing the union’s membership total for 2022 to 65,243. “It’s evident that there is growth, though small, in Mid-America,” said Morel. “We give God praise for that.”
The union’s financial report for 2022 showed a strong operating gain before consideration of a special capital appropriation for which funds had been previously set aside. MAUC vice president for finance, Dave VandeVere, began his report by saying, “What excites me is that in God’s grace, He takes care of us as we learn to trust Him through participation in the tithing process.”
VandeVere explained that the union’s finances are divided into five main funds: operating, allocated operating, unexpended plant, plant and revolving. “Our departments do a very good job ofstaying within budget and we are appreciative of that,” he said. This financial responsibility contributes to the union’s ability to set aside money each year for big events in the future, such as supporting the International Pathfinder Camporee and construction of the Wellness Center at Union College.
Sam Huenergardt, chair of the Auditing Committee, reported that the General Conference Auditing Service has issued an unmodified clean opinion for Mid-America Union following their annual review. Huenergardt stated that the union treasury team is “keeping very clean books in accordance with policy.” The Compensation Review Committee, chaired by Central States Conference president Roger Bernard, also reported “no irregularities.”
The Mission and Ministry
During her Union College report, president Vinita Sauder shared details about the three new masters programs being launched in 2023 and 2024. The public health master’s degree will take one extra year; the master’s in leadership can be completed in one year in person or online, and the master’s of occupational therapy will have a hybrid delivery method over the two additional years required for this program. The accreditation process has already begun for all these programs and registration is currently open for two of the programs.
The Mid-America Union continued its strong support of Union College’s as VandeVere presented a check for $400,000 to President Sauder. Of that amount, $50,000 is in support of new academicprograms and $350,000 for the Wellness Center. “I am so thankful to the Mid-America Union for this generous donation,” said Sauder. “It will make a tremendous impact in many people’s lives. Wholeness is part of our mission. It’s part of the Adventist heritage. And we want to practice what we preach.” Construction of the Wellness Center is underway and completion is scheduled for fall of 2023. Learn more about these projects at ucollege.edu
Dan Enderson, currently the president of the Denver Metro Group in the Rocky Mountain Region, shared a report on AdventHealth’s disaffiliation from CommonSpirit. After more than 20 years of partnership in the Denver area hospitals, the two organizations are assuming individual control of their respective entities. “There is a lot of unwinding to be done,” said Enderson. “Working through this will give us a better path for fulfilling our mission.” While the official naming strategies have not yet been released, all five Adventist hospitals will assume branding sometime this summer that includes the name AdventHealth.
Christian Record Services president Diane Thurber stated that they are a 501C3 organization “loving and serving people who are legally blind.” Thurber shared the history of the organization and some of its current goals and resources. They are an official ministry of the North America Division serving 18,000 people in 70 countries. Nearly 80 percent of the people they minister to do not identify as Seventh-day Adventists, so Christian Record Services staff are looking to partner with Adventist members and pastors to serve blind individuals and those who cannot physically hold a book.
In her departmental report, MAUC director of education LouAnn Howard focused on the upcoming educators’ convention in Phoenix, Mid-America’s School Consultation VersaCare grant, the NAD Australian educational tour, and school accreditation. “It is a joy to see the vast majority of our schools receive the highest level of accreditation, which is six years with a mid-cycle visit,” Howard said.
Discussion following Howard’s report centered around the teacher shortage and potential means of teacher recruitment. Several committee members mentioned the challenges nationwide in both private and public schools and some of the factors that influence conference’s abilities to hire qualified individuals.
As part of its agenda, the committee approved six ordination recommendations for pastors, along with one application for an intern scholarship from the Central States Conference. In addition, emeritus or honorary ministerial credentials were voted for five individuals living in Mid-America Union territory.
“We appreciate everyone who shared reports and attended this committee meeting,” said Gary Thurber as the meeting concluded. “There is so much value in the members of this executive committee, both those who work for the church and the lay members who donate their expertise and time for helping to carry out the ministry and mission of the Adventist Church in our territory.”
The next MAUC Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for Nov. 16, 2023.